Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Coffee Recipe That Saves Me Thousands

I like Starbucks. I like the luxury and atmosphere of cafes that offer lattes made just for me. Those are my periodic treats.

But day in and day out, I love the coffee that we make at home. In fact, it actually tastes far better than lattes from the cafes and just as good as the authentic Cuban coffee shots in Miami. I estimate that our rich homemade coffee saves us about $1,200 a year and about $3,500 over three years.

Here's how we make great coffee:

The Ingredients

  • Whole Beans: Forget the gourmet beans. Eight o' Clock coffee beans are super cheap and earned top marks for flavor in a blind taste test from Consumer Reports.
  • Grind the Beans as Needed: Every morning with our bean crusher, we grind coffee beans into a fine powder. The aroma of freshly ground beans creates the ambiance of a cafe. The scent also reminds me of my grandmother, who loved fresh coffee.
  • Bean shortcut: When rushed for time we do grind the beans and store them. This shortcut helps on super crazy mornings.
  • Water: Filtered tap water makes yummy coffee. This step makes a big difference, especially if the water from your tap has a strong taste.
  • Spices: For an extra kick, grind the coffee beans with either a little bit of cardamon, cinnamon or vanilla beans. This adds flavor and it's not hard to throw in a little bit of spice during the grinding process.
  • Cream. I love Half-and-Half in my coffee. There are cheaper solutions with fewer calories. But I enjoy this luxury.

The Equipment:
We don't use fancy or expensive equipment. Our low-tech coffee production gear is low-cost, effective and pretty. Experts agree with our strategy.

The Bean Crusher: We spent $20 to $30.
The Plunger Pot also known as a French Press coffee-maker We spent about $14, marked down from $40.
Beautiful mugs. We've spent 50 cents to $10 for mugs.

In the book, The Joy of Coffee, writer Cory Kummer makes a big pitch for elegant, but frugal coffee equipment. In the chapter, "Low-Tech Solution, " the author writes:

"Before you take out a loan, consider the coffee-making method that has been
popular in Italy for more than half a century-- one that will require a layout
of less than $30

He refers to Moka stovetop brewers, which are widely used in Italy.

Our Coffee-Making Steps:

  1. Boil about a teapot full of filtered tap water.
  2. Crush about two fist fulls of coffee beans,** include powdered cinnamon or cardamon beans.
  3. Place the ground coffee into the Plunger Pot.
  4. Fill the pot with 16 to 18 ounces of boiled water. Let the hot mixture sit for five minutes.
  5. Press the plunger down, a simple motion that filters the coffee and separates the grinds.
  6. Serve coffee in ceramic mugs with cream, sugar or other spices.

** Kummer recommends:
1/4 cup of ground coffee (two scoops) for a single six-ounce serving of brewed coffee
3/4 cup of ground coffee (6 scoops) for 3 cups of brewed coffee (24 oz)

I need coffee is a site with excellent information, recipes and tips about coffee.


mapgirl said...

Starbucks always tastes burned and overroasted to me. Cheap coffee is good stuff, but I will say that I do like the taste of Gevalia when I have it. I don't think people take the time to really taste their coffee, or else they wouldn't need to dump so much sugar and cream into it.

I only put in a teaspoon or two of sugar to take any bitter edge off it. But for really smooth tasty coffee, just a half teaspoon.

Creamer? Only after dinner or when the coffee is EXTREMELY awful.

One day, you'll be sorry you got addicted to cream. You'll run out, or it'll be spoiled and then you'll be screwed with 'undrinkable' coffee! *winky*

golbguru said...

Nice...we always drink more tea than tea at home, but I will try some coffee following your directions.

For coffee, we tried some Folgers stuff in a coffee machine earlier..but I guess it wasn't that awesome because our enthusiasm really died down after a while.

Golbguru said...

I meant "we drink more tea than coffee"...I am a dingbat.

mbhunter said...

We have some beans we got from our discount grocery store while it was still open. They stay good for a while if the package is still sealed up.

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